Joel Embiid cares not for your pithy awards

Joel Embiid cares not for your pithy awards

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of the game at Fiserv Forum on March 04, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Image: Getty Images

The longest active win streak in the NBA ended Saturday night, as the Philadelphia 76ers stopped the Milwaukee Bucks’ 16-game run with a 133-130 win in Giannis Antetokuonmpo’s house. Joel Embiid and James Harden combined for 69 points, overcoming an 18-point deficit.

Embiid’s three with 42 seconds left gave the Sixers a lead that they’d seal with defensive stops and free throws. The reason I’m writing a borderline gamer is it was the second time in a month and change that Embiid beat one of his two MVP rivals in a primetime matchup, and even though Giannis had more points, he also had seven more turnovers (to Embiid’s zero) and a couple more misses.

Harden had one of his best outings of the season, tallying 38 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds, but beating the Bucks at this point in the season takes a team effort.

Focusing on a title is how you win MVP

Earlier this week, Embiid made headlines by publicly vowing that he’s done worrying about taking home the MVP trophy.

“What I can control is to try to win a championship,” Embiid told Fox Sports. “And I feel like that’s the only way I’m going to get that respect. So, that’s where all the focus is.”

That’s refreshing to hear, and it’s exactly what I was preaching after the Sixers’ win over the Nuggets on Jan. 28, when I lamented Philly’s gross PR campaign to bring Embiid an MVP.

“Keep the banners and hashtags in a drawer and continue to go to work. If Embiid wants to win it, go out there and grab the No. 1 overall seed. Win another 20 of 24. Keep quietly dominating because it will get noticed.”

Well, since I wrote that, Philly is 9-6, now four games behind the Bucks for the one seed, and not giving much of anybody reason to vault Embiid ahead of Antetokuonmpo or Nikola Jokic. The Bucks are 14-1 in their past 15 games, and the Nuggets are 11-4 in that same span.

This MVP race is teeming with bananas stats that will back up any candidate, so it’s too close to stumble against even worthy opponents. The only way Embiid is going to win the MVP is if Philly wins the East. That’s it, and as it happens, securing the No. 1 seed also is the main goal of any team trying to win a title.

Jon Bones Jones returns — and immediately gets kicked in the balls

A massive UFC card took place Saturday, headlined by the return of Jon Bones Jones, the undisputed greatest MMA fighter of Joe Rogan’s lifetime, after a three-year break and a litany of out of the octagon issues, including a domestic violence incident. (The charges were eventually dropped.) He received a hero’s welcome in his return, as you’d expect. If you’re going to make people pay to attend a Trump rally, they’re going to be the kind of people who would pay to see Donald Trump.

Jones ended the fight two minutes and four seconds into the first round via a barely perceptible submission, and everyone who got all lathered up for blood had to go elsewhere into the Las Vegas night to find it. The win earned Jones the heavyweight title belt, which he moved up a division to get.

However, the hardest shot of the night came on the first kick of the contest, with Cyril Gane connecting with Jones’ balls. The ref stopped the bout momentarily as Jones winced, and I wish I had the slo-mo replay that they showed, but after scouring Twitter with searches for “Jon Jones balls” and “Jon Jones nuts,” I stopped before I gave HR a reason to fire me.

Anyway, I hope you didn’t pay to watch that. Or maybe I do. Not sure if I’m spiting here. 

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.